Friday, January 9, 2015

First Teacher of the Deaf

A Spanish monk in the 16th century named Fray Pedro Ponce de Leon is recognized by most historians as the first teacher of deaf children, though some experts point to Spanish painter Juan Fernandez Navarrete, who lived in the earlier part of the century and was himself mute. Ponce de Leon was a Benedictine monk who took a vow of silence and developed a form of sign language to communicate. He apparently taught finger-spelling to deaf children who probably arrived at his monastery already knowing some home signs.

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